Cilka's Journey Themes & Motifs

Heather Morris
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Violence as a Form of Control

Authoritative powers often employ violent means to control populations. Within the larger community, the threat of being placed into a gulag or prison camp of hard labor keeps most people conformed to government rules and obedient. In the gulags, guards use derogatory and harsh language, threats, and force so prisoners will comply. One of the most effective tools is the threat of isolation, or what the Vorkuta Gulag refers to as the hole. There, prisoners are deprived of food, a place to sleep, and are subject to the cold, brutal weather with little cover. The threat is real: Hannah was sent to isolation for simply looking at a guard “the wrong way” (78). Cilka, too, is thrown in the hole and barely survives; two other of their hut mates never return.

The prison population uses the same authoritative means to control themselves...

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This section contains 1,938 words
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